Hans Christian Andersen statue in Malaga.

Hans Christian Andersen statue in Malaga. One city where he was couchsurfing.

Hans Christian Andersen is mostly known for his fairy tales, but he was also one of the greatest travelers of his time and he never had a permanent home. Large part of his life, he lived for free in peoples houses and castles, making him a 19th century couchsurfer, before anyone had thought about that this would one day be a common thing to do among travelers.

Hans Christian Andersen was a great traveler.

What many non danes don’t know, is that Hans Christian Andersen was one of the greatest travelers of his time. He made 29 trips abroad in his life, which was a lot in the 19th century (He lived from 1805 to 1875). Many of the trips were to southern Europe where he loved to be and he clearly also had a liking for the women there even if he never had any romances there (he most likely a life long virgin). He wrote some great travelogues about his trips to places like Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Turkey and several other countries and they are an excellent read.


Hans Christian Andersen never had a permanent home.

Hans Christian Andersen couchsurfed here and fell in love with the girl in the house.

Hans Christian Andersen couchsurfed here and fell in love with the girl in the house.

Hans Christian Andersen was a true boheme and never had a permanent place to live. He was simply too occupied with other things that interested him more than hanging pictures on the wall. He lived in hotels, furnished rooms that he would sublet for a few months and he also stayed a lot in peoples homes for free. He was from a poor background and never struck it really rich when he lived, but he was very liked and respected among the people who had money, so they would often invite him to live in their home for a while and he lived in many homes, not just in his native Denmark, but also around Europe.


And my name is Andersen too and I also travel and have no permanent home.

Another traveling Andersen.

Another traveling Andersen.

Hans Christian Andersen came from the island Fyn in Denmark, where he grew up in the city Odense. I grew up on the same island, but a little further south, near the town Faaborg. But Faaborg played an important role in Hans Christian Andersen’s life too, as the first girl he ever fell in love with came from Faaborg. Her name was Riborg Voigt and there was a mutual attraction, but she was already promised away to another man (arranged marriage was common in Denmark in these times), so no relationship ever materialized between them. He kept writing her secretly though and by the time she died, they found several letters in her drawers from Hans Christian Andersen with poems dedicated to her.

And my name is Andersen too and I like to travel just like he did. And I have not had a permanent place to live for many years, so I have several things in common with the other Andersen, but I have to admit that we are not clones as I have not been translated in to 135 languages, but then on the other hand I have had a very interesting sex life around the world 🙂

The original couchsurfer.

The original couchsurfer.


  1. I love Andersen’s stories, Claus. I grew up with them and I remember some of them even today. What a great writer. I didn’t know he was such an avid traveler.

  2. Loved this unique travel story–thanks for sharing!

  3. You could be related:) Interesting story… Happy travels Mr. Anderson:)

    • I’m no direct relative, the guy never had any kids, or any sex for that matter 🙂
      But I am actually related a little bit to the guy that married his big love Riborg Voigt that ha could not have because she was already engaged when they met.

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